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Two more join Battalion

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Left winger Owen Van Steensel and goaltender Dom DiVincentiis have signed standard player’s agreements, including education packages, with the North Bay Battalion, the Ontario Hockey League club announced Thursday.

Van Steensel and DiVincentiis were fourth- and sixth-round picks in the OHL Priority Selection last April, from the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs minor midgets and the Vaughan Kings minor midgets respectively.

While the OHL has yet to start play in the 2020-21 season because of the covid-19 pandemic, the signings brought to five the number of players selected last year who have signed with the Battalion, following defenceman Ty Nelson, the No. 1 overall pick, second-round centre Dalyn Wakely and third-round rearguard Tnias Mathurin.

“I’m honoured to be given this opportunity to be a part of such an amazing organization and play in front of such a great fan base,” Van Steensel said at home in Ilderton, Ont.

“I’m excited to take the next step in my career with the Battalion and can’t wait to get things started and meet my new teammates.”

Van Steensel, a five-foot-10, 170-pound London native who turns 17 on Aug. 4, scored 23 goals and earned 39 assists for 62 points in 33 games with Elgin-Middlesex last season. He had one goal in two games with the Komoka Kings of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, a junior B circuit, and has skated in workouts this season with the same league’s St. Marys Lincolns.

“With Owen, you get a player with a high hockey IQ and a great mix of speed and skill,” said Battalion general manager Adam Dennis. “He was a captain on one of the top minor midget teams last season and has been able to show quite a bit of growth through his offseason training and the limited sessions he was able to attend with his junior B team in St. Marys.”

In 21 games with Vaughan last season, DiVincentiis, a six-foot-two, 180-pound native of Toronto who turned 17 Thursday, posted a goals-against average of 1.58, a save percentage of .954 and seven shutouts while winning 13 of 18 decisions.

He was one of three goaltenders taken in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection who was chosen to participate in Hockey Canada’s virtual national under-17 development camp.

“This is the most amazing accomplishment to date for the steps I need to make towards my future goals,” he said from Vaughan, Ont.

“Being drafted and now signing with the North Bay Battalion makes me excited, happy and super pumped. Thank you to my family, coaches and everyone who has helped me to get to this point in my hockey career. Go, Troops, go!”

Dennis noted that DiVincentiis “is a guy who has already garnered attention from Hockey Canada and is widely regarded as one of the best goalies for his age group.”

“He’s a big-game goalie with great focus and athleticism and is always looking for ways to improve his game. Like Owen, Dom has really put great effort into his offseason program and has seen significant gains.

“Both of these players are guys that Battalion fans will get to know and enjoy for several seasons to come at Memorial Gardens. We’re proud to welcome both Dom and Owen and look forward to having a hand in their development.”

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